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Bishops Not Happy With 95-10

From the Zenith News Service:U.S. Bishops Address Role of Catholic PoliticiansResponse to Statement by 55 House Members WASHINGTON, D.C., MARCH 12, 2006 ( Catholic politicians have a responsibility to defend life at all stages and in all situations, say the U.S. bishops. The bishops' conference on Friday released a "Statement on Responsibilities of Catholics in Public Life" in which they responded to a recent public statement on the same topic made by 55 Catholic and Democratic members of the U.S. House of Representatives. "We welcome this and other efforts that seek to examine how Catholic legislators bring together their faith and their policy choices," the bishops said. "Our faith has an integral unity that calls Catholics to defend human life and human dignity whenever they are threatened," the statement said. The statement was signed by three members of the U.S. bishops' conference: Cardinal William Keeler, chairman of the Committee on Pro Life Activities, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, chairman of the Task Force on Catholic Bishops and Catholic Politicians, and Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, chairman of the Committee on Domestic Policy. The bishops underlined "the Catholic Church's constant teaching that abortion is a grave violation of the most fundamental human right -- the right to life that is inherent in all human beings, and that grounds every other right we possess." "The human being is entitled to such rights," the bishops said, quoting Pope John Paul II, "in every phase of development, from conception until natural death; and in every condition, whether healthy or sick, whole or handicapped, rich or poor." "While it is always necessary to work to reduce the number of abortions by providing alternatives and help to vulnerable parents and children," the statement continued, "Catholic teaching calls all Catholics to work actively to restrain, restrict and bring to an end the destruction of unborn human life." The bishops said: "As members of the Church, all Catholics are obliged to shape our consciences in accord with the moral teaching of the Church. "Through dialogue, especially the irreplaceable dialogue between Catholic political leaders and their own bishops, we hope to promote a better understanding of how the Church's teaching on human life and dignity challenges us all." [endquote]I would be interested in what the other dotComm-ers think about this. The bishops' statement rejects the notion that a Catholic politician can be true to the faith by supporting the various initiatives that would dramatically reduce the number of abortions if that person continues to support a legal regime grounded in choice. There are apparently also some fissures growing among Democrats who have been trying to find some common ground on the abortion question. The division seems to be between those who feel very strongly about all of the pro-mother/pro-child initiatives identified in the Dems' statement, but still wish to see the legal "right" to choose an abortion curtailed, and those who also favor all of those things, but would insist on preserving that "right." Is that division bridgeable politically or philosophically?-- Mark

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"a legal reginm grounded in choice." This seems to be the crux of the matter. Several observations:1)Doesn't a legal regime grounded in choice put choice over life? 2) It seems that many of the signatories to the statement are willing to go to the mat defending an unrestricted abortion license. Of course, that is not true of all Catholic Democrats in Congress, many of whom have supported parental notification and other restrictions. I certainly don't want to paint with a broom. 3) There are, of course, ways of reducing the number of abortions that do not ban or further restrict procedures. It seems that during the Clinton years this was successful and went some distance to making good on Pres. Clinton's commitment to keep make abortion "safe, legal, and rare."I4) It seems that there needs to be some recognition of the fact that the Church's stand on abortion is not derived in the first instance from revelation, but from reason. I get tired of the "I don't want to impose my religious views on people" argument invoked by pro-choice politicians who support unrestricted access to abortion. These same politicians have no problem condemning in the next breath their moral indignation regarding captial punishment, torture, welfare reform- as they should. This inconsistency is very noticeable and they take a political beating for it. As a life-long Democrat and a Catholic I have to say there is a fundamental dishonesty in this statement and in the Democratic Party's support of an unlimited, unrestricted abortion license.

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